Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight knockout artists Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo will clash TONIGHT (Sat., Feb. 29, 2020) from inside Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.
Benavidez is one of the greatest fighters of all time without a UFC title win, and he’s hoping to change that final segment tonight. “Beefcake” has won nine of his last ten bouts, defeating many of the Flyweight division’s top contenders — including Henry Cejudo — in that time while inching toward a third title shot. Figueiredo’s UFC career is a bit shorter, but he’s been similarly impressive. The Brazilian “God of War” has brought the violence in each of his bouts, stopping four foes in six wins to prove himself one of the division’s top talents.
Unfortunately, Figueiredo did miss weight for the first time, which does make him ineligible to win the title and run the risk of throwing the whole division into chaos.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Henry Cejudo (TUF 24 Finale) , Jussier Formiga (UFC on ESPN 3, Fight Night 28), Dustin Ortiz (UFC Fight Night 143, UFC Fight Night 57), Alex Perez (TUF 28 Finale), Ali Bagautinov (UFC 192)
Key Losses: Demetrious Johnson (UFC on FOX 9, UFC 152), Dominick Cruz (WEC 50, WEC 42), Sergio Pettis (UFC 225)
Keys to Victory: Still an impressively physical fighter at 35 years of age, Benavidez seeks to overwhelm opponents. He does so with stance-shifting combinations that target the head, body, and leg with equal aggression and with a remarkable scrambling ability that makes Benavidez nearly impossible to control.
Benavidez has scored eight wins via knockout and nine via submission.
Against a remarkably powerful Flyweight in Figueiredo, the main key to victory here is to avoid standing in front of the Brazilian and trading with him. Benavidez likes to take angles along the outside both prior to starting and during his combinations, which should help him avoid “Daico’s” heaviest punches.
In addition, the calf kick will likely serve as a valuable weapon to off-balancing Figueired, who plants his feet heavily in a wide stance to generate such power. Changing directions on the outside will help make his opponent miss, which should serve as valuable opportunities to level change into a takedown.
At a certain point, Benavidez’s cardio and pace should help him take over.
Key Wins: Alexandre Pantoja (UFC 240), John Moraga (UFC Fight Night 135), Tim Elliott (UFC Fight Night 161), Joseph Morales (UFC Fight Night 125)
Key Losses: Jussier Formiga (UFC Fight Night 148)
Keys to Victory: Figueiredo is a powerhouse. The Brazilian does not fight like the usual Flyweight, as he lunges forward with huge power shots in aggressive attempts to shut off the lights of his opponents.
Against Benavidez, Figueiredo needs to maintain his aggression without falling into sloppiness, which would grant his foe easy takedown opportunities. Instead, Figueiredo has a pretty piercing jab that he would be wise to rely upon, as he does have a reach and height advantage.
If Figueiredo can trap Benavidez on the outside with his long jab, kicks, and the occasional flurry, it will give Benavidez a lot of reasons to attempt to close that distance. That’s Figueroa’s best chance to end the fight, as the Brazilian has a real gift at timing counters in the form of vicious power punches.
Hopefully, it’s a new start for the Flyweight division.
Benavidez has been working toward this goal for a long, long time. Realistically, this is likely his final attempt to capture gold in the Octagon. As such, it’s a huge moment for his legacy: will Benavidez finally lift a belt over his head after all these trials and tribulations? It would really be an amazing moment.
Meanwhile, Figueiredo ruined his first chance at gold, missing the 125-pound mark at the official weigh-in event (details). Nevertheless, there’s little doubt he’ll fight savagely (as usual) and give every effort to seek redemption for the scale fail. That’s because if the Brazilian does succeed, he ranks highly among the most entertaining fighters on the roster. That’s a definite positive for “God of War:” no one is likely to call Figueiredo boring.
Can the Flyweight division survive another few months without a champion though? That’s hard to say and entirely up to the UFC higher ups.
At UFC Fight Night 169, Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo will battle in the main event. Which man will leave the cage victorious?